5 Reasons Why Workout Earphones Suck

Let’s face it, exercise is torture and anything we can do to make it a little more bearable is desperately welcome. So thank goodness for wireless earphones that help drown out the sound of our screaming muscles. At least, that’s what we’d like them to do. It’s unfortunate then, that even the best workout earphones don’t always deliver on that promise.

In this blog, we’ll take a look at the 5 biggest reasons why you might want to reconsider your most motivational workout partner.

IPX is Not Enough

Most workout earphones are advertised as “sweatproof”. Next to tantalizing pictures of sweaty models, you’ll be told they are “IPX7 protected”. The idea is to put your mind at ease as you imagine yourself sweating buckets (or crying wildly in pain). But what if you were told that this number is largely irrelevant?

The IP scale measures protection against water. For phones, tablets, and other handheld devices, this is fine. For earphones, though, the IP scale is almost useless, and that is for one simple reason: Humans do not sweat water, they sweat… sweat, a significantly more corrosive and destructive substance. The salt and acid will eventually eat through watertight casings and destroy sensitive components. Think xenomorph blood or comic-book acid (then perhaps tone it down slightly).

There’s very little that is more infuriating than the sudden loss of your left or right earbud, especially if the beat is about to drop and your last high-intensity interval is fast approaching.

Poor Fit = Poor Fitness

In-ear headphones are ideal for exercise. They won’t bounce on your head or around your ears, and the tight seal creates peachy bass-response. This does make a perfect fit essential though, which can often be irritatingly hard to find. Even with a thousand ear tips of varying length, width, and circumference, it can be impossible to get that drool-worthy satisfaction that comes from a comfortable and reliable in-ear fit.

While this is partly your fault for having such weird ears, unless you’re truly aurally unlucky, it shouldn’t be too much to ask for a set of gym earphones that fit you nicely on the first try.

Exercise Sounds Bad

When it comes to the best gym earphones, the brands you think of are probably not the same as those you associate with the best listening experience. Why is that?

For superior Hi-Fi performance or workout functionality, the entire earphone’s design focuses on that one specific purpose. As a consequence, there will naturally be a compromise on other features.

It is worth remembering, however, that music can be the difference between an early shower and a jubilant smashing of your PB. So it’s important that the audio quality is up to the job, and that doesn’t necessarily just mean clarity and detail. Unless you’re somehow motivated by Radiohead and Adele (what is wrong with you?), your workout playlist will predominantly consist of upbeat tracks with a high BPM and big bass lines. To give these genres a boost, workout earphones should be tuned to emphasize the low end and deliver a pulsing beat that sets your pace.

Ultimately it’s your choice whether you prioritize audio or workout features, but wouldn’t it be nice to not have to compromise?

Bluetooth Needs a Root Canal

If you run anything like we do in the Soundcore office, you’re less Usain Bolt and more Phoebe Buffay. And it’s not just painfully slow. Our flailing limbs create a perfect shield for the wireless Bluetooth signal. Skipping, dropouts, and complete disconnections are not unheard of—especially when running in busy places.

With the headphone jack fading into silence (RIP), it’s disappointing that a lot of the best running headphones still have such an unreliable wireless connection.

The Price of Fitness

Despite this truckload of issues, the most well-known sports earphones still come with enormous price tags. $150 feels like a big ask for earphones that fit poorly, sound average, and don’t stay connected—especially when you’re paying the same amount again a few months later after your sweat has eaten through the insides and plunged your workouts into silence.

But don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom. If you want a compelling alternative to the well-known choices for workout earphones you can check out Soundcore’s Spirit series here.